Yankees GM Brian Cashman is making some questionable inquiries ahead of the trade deadline.
There has been a mountain of unprecedented aspects of 2020, but one thing Yankees fans probably knew they could rely on was the club being in the market for pitching at the trade deadline.
With this season’s cutoff less than a week away, a report from SNY dropped on Monday which indicated that general manager Brian Cashman would target both starting rotation and bullpen reinforcements before Aug. 31.
That rumor didn’t come as much of a surprise as New York has had brutal injury luck on the pitching front. Just last week, the club placed James Paxton (elbow), Zack Britton (hamstring) and Luis Avilan (shoulder) on the injured list.
Well, not long after that rumor surfaced, MLB insider Jon Morosi reported that the Yankees inquired about Mariners starter Taijuan Walker, who has impressed in his last couple of outings for Seattle.
Walker is set to hit free agency after this season, so he’s widely regarded across MLB as one of the most appealing rental starters available. While we don’t disagree with that notion, is this really the caliber of pitcher the Yankees should be targeting to augment their World Series chances? For the season, the 28-year-old is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA, 25 strikeouts and 1.07 WHIP.
Those numbers aren’t terrible, but Walker has minimal playoff experience under his belt. In fact, in the lone start he’s made in October — in 2018 with the Arizona Diamondbacks — he lasted just one inning, surrendering four runs and two walks. We don’t mean to come down on the Mariners right-hander, but the Yankees could simply do a lot better than giving up assets for potentially two months of his services.
What if we told you that Walker wasn’t the only uninspiring hurler New York has shown legitimate interest in? According to SNY insider Andy Martino, the club called the San Francisco Giants about the availability of Kevin Gausman.
Seriously? There likely isn’t an abundance of elite pitching available at this year’s deadline, but surely the Yankees and Cashman could do better than this. In five starts, Gausman is 1-1 with a 4.65 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. While the report notes that he produces more swings and misses than 80% of MLB, that doesn’t come close to moving the needle for the Bombers.
These are “good” moves if the Yankees are trying to get a back end starter to keep them afloat throughout September, but it’s not going to help their postseason chances whatsoever.
Don’t get lost in the heat of the moment, Yankees fans. Just because the rotation has struggled behind Cole doesn’t mean you should back the club trading for any pitcher, especially non-impact guys. After all, we’re talking about the 27-time World Series champs here.
The Yankees’ standards should be too high to want to acquire average arms who honestly wouldn’t do much to solve their current problems beyond merely filling a spot in the rotation.